A “government-supported” walk-in clinic will open in Whitehorse this year, Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee says.
“We’re working on the first government-supported walk-in clinic because it is a concept that down the road in Putting People First will be something that we will be looking at more and more,” McPhee told reporters on April 5.
“We are working with the local doctors who will be staffing on a rotation basis, is the idea.”
Whitehorse’s only operating walk-in clinic stopped accepting new patients and walk-ins last summer, leaving people without a walk-in clinic in the capital.
For patients without a family doctor who need to access immediate care, their only remaining option is the emergency department at Whitehorse General Hospital.
The minister was light on details, such as where the new clinic will be located and exactly when it will be open to the public.
“I hope it’s very soon and kind of expected it to be a bit arranged or be opened in the very near future, in the spring of this year,” McPhee said.
“My work with the department and the conversations that we have are about doing this very soon to respond to Yukoners’ needs.”
A bilingual health clinic is also due to open this year, while “again working on staffing to make sure we have all the right people in place,” McPhee said.
The minister recognized some people in Whitehorse are struggling to find family doctors.
In 2020, the Yukon was supported by 75 resident physicians in total, and an additional 20 specialists who came to visit the territory, as well as 95 other visiting physicians and specialists, McPhee said, adding she is waiting on the latest counts for 2021.
McPhee said the number of local physicians represents an increase of approximately eight per cent between 2019 and 2020, which does not include the number of locums.
“We often have people come, doctors come and provide locum services and sometimes they end up wanting to stay or live here, so it’s always a good way to try it out as well.”
— With files from Haley Ritchie
Contact Dana Hatherly at firstname.lastname@example.org